Terror from all sides: Mass Graves reported; Purge w/in NPA ranks claims Military, Gov’t – while left claims 93 militants killed by right wing death squads.
Last Friday I put up a post after getting two calls and couple of text messages from Mindanao. Another call came from Tarlac,
Today the first media reports on 'mass grave s' having been found one containing as many as 20 murdered victims, 20 victims, nothing reported in the so called mainstream press or television; Why? good question, perhaps because so many killings are taking place 93 militants, I can't even remember how many people anymore in my profession, journalism in the last two years.
This discovery came after a couple of text messages and emails, the CDO mass grave contained a number of victims; in media we know about this occurring the late and mid 1980's BUT these graves contents I am told were New.
The grave(s) alleged the caller were victims of a left wing purge inside the leftist movement, or, so the first caller claimed – a report today in the Philippine Star – said that the Armed forces according to national security advisor Norberto Gonzales had recovered a series of small graves and that Police and the NBI were investigating;
That a NBI medico Legal teams was on site; the findings showed the contents to have been from the last few months. On the other hand I am sure there is always a possibility of some extent of truth to the Military's reports. But, with all the other killings many in broad daylight the tactics of 'right wing' militia like attacks. One wonders just how many more sites are out there awaiting discovery from too many factions within armed groups to mention.
The discovery also is coming on heels of 93 deaths of leftist group members in the country shows a pattern of a 'dark side' of insurgency is rising to the surface.
Of assassination teams on the right and left some perhaps also might group in those of the middle or Vigilante groups– adding all those numbers and bodies and you get a figure of over 600 victims in the last three years more or less.
Groups it seems are 'taking out' opponents with impunity. Add to this the specter of reports I had received last year of new "sparrow type" and 'eagle squad' units being trained by all sides and factions from rebel groups to militia units and a specter of a new wave of violence is coming to fold.
So far, the opposing death squads seem to be focusing on people within the organizations on both sides – so Military, Media, and, Police reports claim. On wonders when the squads will go after more visible targets, so far the units have been acting on localized vendettas and attacks, there is no clear pattern investigators say; But so far little of this is being pulled together.
Lets take the last week alone- a pastor and his wife were gunned down in Misamais oriental he had ties to a labor group, a 6 members of leftist 'peoples' groups killed, these new graves discovered with some fifty bodies, 5 more reports in rural areas of killings and shootings, a mayor almost hit south of manila in Laguna.
One thing is clear – there is a growth industry – in death by gunfire this month. Most of it out of public view, all of it on top of insurgency related clashes and attacks, then don't forget the other insurgency in Mindanao. The violence is growing; lets hope as is traditional the rainy season cools off the killings. Even though the rains themselves bring death from floods and landslides and ships sinking – the purges, death squads, and vigilantes show clearly that; 'The dangerous life' is back in the Philippines anew.
The Philippinev Daily inquirer seems to put lower figures in the mix at 123 only.
They left out the vigilante killings in Davao and Cebu since 2001. They also do not include the figures of the two newly discovered mass graves in Cgayan De Oro and Tarlac.
A POLICE TASK FORCE yesterday tagged soldiers and paramilitary forces as suspects in the murder of 25 political activists, and said 13 other killings might have been the result of a purge within the communist ranks.They were among the 122 cases of killings of political militants recorded since 2001 when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed power, according to data released to media by the newly created Task Force Usig. Deputy Director General Avelino Razon Jr., task force head, said one other killing of a militant member was the upshot of an encounter between government forces and the communist New People’s Army. The rest of the cases were still being investigated, he said. An Inquirer tally showed 123 activists have been killed during the five years of the Arroyo presidency."